Stella Padnos-Shea

2012/06/21 § Leave a comment

On the theme of cigarettes

Speed Dating

The woman lifts her hand to her heart,
patting its hard work.
She loads her ashtray in a slow burn of double meaning: souvenir, absence.
Her mouth open in a loose-fitting curl
pinned all night.
What is her mouth open for?
What is about to enter her.
She is receiving; she is a receipt.
She is itemized and rain checked.
She is standing in line, marketing her brand. No-nonsense.

A shining ruby mouth is an appeal, an advertisement,
a question.
Diamonds revolving the finger a promise, an arrangement, a hurry.

She has only her mouth strained open, stained a bleeding color.

Her hands clasped in her lap like a store-bought bow.
Her mouth chewing on its straitjacket
as she pulls out wishes like bunnies: soulmate, teacups, suburbs. Her body stands guard against break-in; her laugh the alarm, 3AM blaring. Nobody falls asleep
to the sound.

Author Biography

Stella Padnos-Shea’s poems can be found in Chest medical journal, The Comstock Review,, and, a collaboration with jewelry artist Margaux Lange. Having been employed as a college instructor, jewelry maker, and therapist, she also is a mother to a nine month old daughter. Please find her at


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